I did something embarrassing on Friday. I went to the ATM at the airport and when I went to grab it later that night, I realized it was gone. I am not sure where I lost it, but I did know what to do to make sure everything was okay.
Call the Bank and Cancel the Card
The first thing to do when you realize your card is gone is cancel it. Don’t wait a minute. If someone stole it or found it, they can use it until it is cancelled. Canceling a card is free and easy. Once the card is cancelled, the bank will promptly send you a replacement.
It is extremely important that you cancel it right away. If someone fraudulently uses your card, you may be responsible for the charges if you have not yet told the bank that the card is gone. Unlike a credit card, an ATM card or debit card draws money straight from your bank account. There is no layer of protection in between the card and your money.
Keep Your Eye on Your Statement
Over the next few days, make sure to check your charges daily. Some charges do not show up right away, and if the card was used you can tell the bank to start the fraud process. If you don’t watch for problems, you might end up on the hook for your thief’s purchases.
If the card is cancelled and you don’t see any unauthorized charges for three or four days, you are most likely safe and will not see any problems.
Setting Up Your New Card
If you use your debit card for any monthly bills, which is a horrible idea (link to post on credit card paying you), make sure to update the merchant with your new card number.
The card may have a different pin, so be sure to get it changed by the bank if you want it to be something you will remember.
Tips for Debit Card Safety
- Never store your pin number with your card. If you do, someone can clear your account out quickly.
- Only use credit cards for online purchases. It is more secure and has better fraud protection than a debit card.
- Use a site like Mint.com to be updated on your purchases so you can catch fraud early.
Have you ever lost your debit card? How did you respond? Did you get stuck with any fraud charges? Share your thoughts, tips, and experiences in the comments.